Opioids and the Trades: Supporting Employee Health and Safety
Ottawa, August 10, 2021 - The opioid overdose crisis is disproportionately affecting people working in the trades, transportation and construction. To support employers in these sectors, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction has partnered with Health Canada to produce a toolkit of resources to help people in these professions. It’s called Substance Use and the Workplace: Supporting Employers and Employees in the Trades.
This collection of resources is aimed at helping employers address employee substance use, with a particular focus on young men working in the trades. Employers can find ready-to-use resources from more than 30 organizations to learn how to reduce risks related to substances and substance use disorder, and to support workplace health and safety. The toolkit can provide much needed guidance to assist employees experiencing the harms of substance use. The toolkit includes resources to:
- Educate employees about substances and their effects,
- Prevent substance use risks and harms,
- Address employee harmful substance use through policy and practices,
- Provide information on the harmful effects of stigma and substance use,
- Find services and supports, and
- Access related information about key reports and organizations that can help.
CCSA has partnered with the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) to further connect the toolkit of resources with employers and workers. “Some workers in the construction, trades and transportation sectors are experiencing substance use harms, particularly with opioids. We aim to help reach the employers and workers who can use this collection of resources to make a difference in, or even save, someone’s life,” said Anne Tennier, President and Chief Executive Officer, CCOHS.
Evidence has shown that those industries heavily affected by the opioid overdose crisis are construction, trades and transportation. There are significantly higher rates of opioid-related deaths among men than women. Compounding these factors, men are less likely to reach out for help for health issues. The stigma of substance use can make seeking help even more difficult. Having accessible resources such as those provided in the toolkit directly available to employers and employees is a key step in reducing the harms of substance use.